Chaire Modélisation Mathématique et Biodiversité

École Polytechnique, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle
Fondation de l'École Polytechnique
VEOLIA Environnement

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3 Février 2011, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle

9:30 Damien De Vienne (Barcelone)
A lineage selection model for the maintenance of sex
10:15 Sylvie Méléard (Ecole Polytechnique)
Modélisation aléatoire des dynamiques adaptatives pour des populations diploïdes (travail joint avec P. Collet et H. Metz)
11:00 Pause

11:30-13:00 Lawrence Venable (University of Arizona)
Ecological population and community dynamics: long-term data from desert annual plants
(Part I, the second part will take place on March 23rd 2011)

Summary of Lawrence's course: Ecological population and community dynamics: long-term data from desert annual plants

Desert annual plants are frequently used to illustrate the principles of adaptation to variable environments, the population dynamic functions of dispersal and dormancy, and how temporal variation may promote species coexistence. All of these topics involve ecological and evolutionary responses to environmental variability. High levels of environmental variation driven by rainfall is a signature characteristic of hot deserts. Desert annuals have provided useful conceptual models because they have very simple life cycles and respond on a rapid time scale to such environmental variation. "Good wildflower years," when showy flowered annuals blanket the desert, often occur in association with abrupt desert annual population increases. Such years are correlated with greater than average germination-season rainfall and global climatic cycles, such as El Niño and Pacific Decadal Oscillations, in the case of US Southwestern deserts. Desert annuals spend most of their lives as seeds and may even go unnoticed during their normal flowering season in years of little germination or high mortality. Persistent seed banks play an important role in population and community dynamics and it is not uncommon for species to reappear following years of absence. While desert annuals are small and short-lived, they occur as members of mature, persistent communities. This means that it is relatively easy to monitor multiple generations during the course of a single long-term project. Thus, in addition to being good conceptual models, desert annuals make good empirical models for exploring ecological and evolutionary dynamics in variable environments. Here, I will present the results of our work combining the collection of long-term population dynamic data with several short-term focused approaches to understanding the ecology of Sonoran Desert winter annuals. I demonstrating how our data provide evidence for bet hedging and coexistence via the storage effect. Next, I describe a fundamental functional tradeoff that structures the dominant members of our community and determines the degree of inter-annual variation in fecundity. Finally, I explain long-term trends in response to climate change.

Programme des rencontres de la Chaire